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World Wildlife Fund, American Hotel & Lodging Association and The Rockefeller Foundation Bring Hotel Brands Together to Prevent Hotel Food Waste

Hotel properties kick-off 12-week pilot programs to reduce food waste in hotels

Washington, D.C. – March 21, 2017 – World Wildlife Fund (WWF), with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), today launched a series of pilot projects aimed at further reducing food waste in the hotel industry. WWF and AHLA developed the projects in conjunction with a working group from AHLA’s Food & Beverage Committee and Sustainability Committee. Hotel brands participating in the projects include Hilton, Hyatt, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) and Marriott International, as well as Hershey Entertainment & Resorts, Sage Hospitality and Terranea Resort. The pilots were also developed with the support of The Rockefeller Foundation’s YieldWise Initiative, which aims to reduce post-harvest food loss and halve the world’s food waste by 2030.

Food production has the largest environmental footprint globally of any human activity (1) yet one-third of the world’s available food either spoils or gets thrown away. (2) In the United States, forty percent of food is wasted throughout the supply chain. (3) The majority of that loss comes from homes and food service industries, (4) including the hotel industry. Recognizing the industry-transforming potential of a food management strategy across all hotel food service operations, WWF and the AHLA joined forces to build on AHLA’s previous work with hotel brands to develop actionable projects to prevent food waste through better food management. The hotels’ cooperation demonstrates their commitment to solving this important issue.

“With its substantial food service volume and broad reach with consumers, the hospitality industry is an ideal catalyst for accelerating change,” said Pete Pearson, Director of Food Waste at World Wildlife Fund. “Imagine every hotel breakfast buffet or conference luncheon eliminating food waste. While businesses should make food donation and landfill diversion a priority, these pilot projects will focus on food waste prevention, which is ultimately better for business and the environment.”

“The hotel and lodging industry takes pride in its dedication to fulfilling our environmental responsibilities, and we recognize the leadership role we can play continuing to advance sustainability efforts like food waste reduction programs,” said Katherine Lugar, President and CEO of AHLA. “The industry has a unique opportunity to raise awareness and design the guidelines, tools and resources needed to make a difference—the participation of some of America’s largest brands in these pilot programs underscores the industry’s long-term sustainability commitments. Through these programs and the leadership of World Wildlife Fund and The Rockefeller Foundation, we look forward to being a part of a worldwide solution to food waste.”

Recent research conducted by World Wildlife Fund shows a strong need for industry-wide training and education on food waste reduction among hotel properties, (5) and a general lack of measurement and tracking of food waste. (6) Each pilot project within the program has been developed to tackle a critical step along the food waste supply chain. This includes measuring food waste outputs on a regular basis, improving employee training programs, creating menus designed to limit food waste and raising awareness with customers.

“We’ve already seen that hotel guests are more than willing to conserve water and energy, simply by placing a card on their pillows or hanging their towels. Our hunch is that they’ll also take action to be part of the fight to cut food waste,” said Devon Klatell, Associate Director, The Rockefeller Foundation. “Our support of WWF – part of our $130 million, 7-year YieldWise initiative – seeks to find the simple steps they can take to be part of the solution, one breakfast buffet plate and one room service tray at a time. And once we’ve succeeded in cutting hospitality food waste, we can take those learnings to other sectors like restaurants and retail.”

Following today’s launch, WWF, AHLA and The Rockefeller Foundation plan to roll out additional activities for individual hotel properties to participate in and encourage the entire industry to follow. A toolkit that reports on key findings, best practices and next steps to tackle food waste in the hotel industry will be published. By joining the fight against food waste, the hospitality sector can not only reduce its environmental footprint, but also improve bottom lines and elevate the sustainable culture of the 21st century.

“Considering the tremendous energy, water and habitat loss embedded in our food, loss and waste can no longer be accepted,” said Pearson. “The hotel industry is showing other sectors how we can move faster through improved analytics and by focusing on prevention strategies. Food waste is a problem institutions can solve faster through collaboration.”

About World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

WWF is one of the world’s leading conservation organizations, working in 100 countries for over half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment and combat climate change. Visit to learn more and follow our news conversations on Twitter @WWFNews.

About American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA)

Serving the hospitality industry for more than a century, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the largest national association solely representing all segments of the 8 million jobs the U.S. lodging industry supports, including hotel owners, REITs, chains, franchisees, management companies, independent properties, bed and breakfasts, state hotel associations, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA focuses on strategic advocacy, communications support, and educational resources for an industry that advances long-term career opportunities for employees, invests in local communities across the country and hosts more than one billion guests’ stays in American hotels every year. AHLA proudly represents a dynamic hotel industry of more than 54,000 properties that supports $1.1 trillion in U.S. sales and generates nearly $170 billion in taxes to local, state and federal governments. Learn more at

About The Rockefeller Foundation

For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today, The Rockefeller Foundation pursues this mission through dual goals: advancing inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity, and building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. To achieve these goals, The Rockefeller Foundation works at the intersection of four focus areas—advance health, revalue ecosystems, secure livelihoods, and transform cities—to address the root causes of emerging challenges and create systemic change. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot—or will not. To learn more, please visit

Press Contacts:

Susan McCarthy

Senior Specialist, Media & External Affairs

World Wildlife Fund


Katie Longo

Senior Director, Government Affairs Communications

American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA)


Hannah Buzicky

Edelman, on behalf of The Rockefeller Foundation






5. Bellinson & Company: Food Waste Opinion Leaders Study 2016

6. Reconsidering the Food Journey in Hotels: Dr. Timothy de Waal Malefyt 2016